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9th August 2018 | Big Easy Tour

Boshoff banks maiden Big Easy IGT title at Bushwillow

Paul Boshoff staved off a late charge from fellow Pretoria golfer Hendrikus Stoop to claim his maiden professional victory in the seventh Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour event at Randpark Golf Club on Wednesday.

The Queenswood resident closed with a four-under-par 68 to win by two shots on 11-under.

Boshoff and Stoop were two shots off the pace at the start of the final round, but Boshoff wasted little time to shoot to the top of the pile at the Bushwillow Course. The 21-year-old Serengeti golfer fired a trio of birdies from the first and scrapped a bogey at four with an eagle at the par four fifth.

He pulled three shots clear of Stoop with another brace of birdies at six and kept the lead down the back nine. However, back-to-back bogeys at the 16th and 17th holes left Stoop, who birdied the penultimate hole, trailing by just one shot as the pair headed to the 18th green.

“The last hole was pretty tense,” said Boshoff. “I hit my tee shot left of the fairway and I was under some trees and Hendrikus hit his to the right and had a clear shot to the green.

“I thought that was it; we’d have a play-off and I was really surprised when his second shot finished four metres short of the green. It took the pressure off, because all I could do was punch out.

“His chip shot flew past the hole and he had a three metre putt left for par. I holed a bump-and-run for eagle at five, so I went with the same shot and left myself a tap-in for par.”

Stoop’s par effort ran past the hole, leaving Boshoff free to tidy up for victory.

“I’m so pleased to finally win one after trying for two years,” said Boshoff. “I have been playing really well for a while now and I expected a lot of myself this week and to pull it off is pretty amazing.

“Hendrikus was bogey-free for 13 holes. He put me under a lot of pressure and I’m proud that I stood up to it. I felt mentally strong out there and did the things I needed to do. It wasn’t all pretty, but it got the job done.”

Boshoff has been competing on the IGT Challenge Tour since he turned pro in early 2016.

“I went to the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School in March, but I missed out by one shot in the Final Stage, so I came back to the development circuit,” he said.

“The tournaments on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour and on the IGT Challenge Tour are run very professionally. Ludwick (Manyama) from the Sunshine Tour and Cois (du Plooy) from IGT set up the courses to challenge us and that helps us to improve our course management.

“I’ve definitely grown as a golfer since I started playing here and that’s why I don’t regret having to spend another year playing the development ranks. Every round you play, adds to your experience.”

Victory boosted Boshoff to sixth in the Road to the Sunshine Tour and fired up his quest to finish the season in the top 10.

“The top 10 guys in the Road to the Sunshine Tour after the Big Easy IGT final in December get cards for the Sunshine Tour. It’s a huge incentive. All I’ve tried to do since the start of the season was to get myself into the top 10, but now the hard work starts. I’ll need to play consistently good golf to stay in the top 10 and make the leap to the Sunshine Tour, but I’ve never been more motivated.”

Stoop may have missed out on a trophy, but second place boosted the IGT Challenge Tour winner to seventh in the rankings.

Juran Dreyer closed with a 68 to finish third on his own at eight under.

Meanwhile Caylum Boon finished with five birdies on the bounce to claim the low round honours. A six-under-par 66 earned the Southern Cape amateur a share of fourth on seven-under with Hayden Griffiths and Tokkie van den Berg.

Jeff Inglis, Roodepoort amateur Keelan van Wyk and overnight leader Tyran van Lieshout rounded out the top 10 on six-under 210.